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Gandhis still silent on Rajiv Gandhi's alleged Swiss bank accounts

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New Delhi, May 09: India's political environment has heated up after Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as Bhrastachari number 1 (corrupted number 1).

The allegation was in response to the Congress President Rahul Gandhi's relentless attack on Prime Minister Modi over the Rafale deal.

File photo of Rajiv Gandhi

Addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh on last Saturday, Prime Minister Modi took a jibe at Rahul's late father and said, "Your father was termed 'Mr Clean' by his courtiers, but his life ended as 'Bhrastachari number 1'. "

It's notable that Rahul Gandhi has been making people chant Chowkidar Chor Hai (watchman is a thief) in his rallies. The Prime Minister calls himself a Chowkidar, the one who is committed to protect India's interests.

Prime Minister Modi's comment invited sharp criticism from the Congress and Opposition leaders but he didn't stop and dared the Congress to fight remaining phases of the on-going Lok Sabha elections in the name of Rajiv Gandhi, whose name had figured in the Bofors scam in mid-1987, which resulted in a major defeat for the Congress in the 1989 election.

"How a family looted the country in the 20th century, destroyed it - the youth of the country should know. I am challenging the Congress from this dais that when polling takes place in the remaining phases in Punjab, Delhi and Bhopal, let it fight the elections in the name of Rajiv Gandhi. I am hopeful that the Congress will accept this challenge," he said while addressing a rally in Jharkhand on Monday.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide bomber on May 21, 1991, at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.

Rajiv Gandhi used warship INS Virat as 'personal taxi' to go on holiday: PM Modi

Around six months later, the most popular magazine of Switzerland, Schweizer Illustrierte in its issue of November 11, 1991 did an expose of 14 Third World politicians who, it said, had stashed their black money in Swiss banks.

The title of the story in German read "Fluchgelder - Die Schweizer Konten der Dictatoren" (Curse of money: The Swiss bank accounts of the Dictators).

The list published by the Swiss magazine also carried a photo of Rajiv Gandhi and the photo caption in English read: Rajiv Gandhi, Indian, dead, 2.5 billion francs on Indian secret accounts in Switzerland.

The current value of 2.5 billion francs is Rs. 1,70,73,50,00,000.

Surprisingly, the explosive story did not find any mention in the Indian media and nobody questioned the magazine how it termed Rajiv Gandhi a dictator.

The story gained attention a decade later in India when Dr. Subramanian Swamy highlighted it in 2002.

Since Rajiv Gandhi was not alive to comment on the expose, it was the moral duty of his widow Sonia Gandhi to defend her late husband.

Ironically, till date neither Congress nor any member of the Gandhi family has denied the allegation and hasn't taken any legal action against the magazine, whose around two lakh copies are sold in Switzerland.

However, it's better late than never. If Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra feel that Schweizer Illustrierte story is wrong then they have all rights to sue the magazine. Should Schweizer Illustrierte fail to come up with evidence, at least the honour of late Rajiv Gandhi will be restored.

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